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Why Vendor Credentialing is a Strategic Issue

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, June 28, 2013

Intermountain Healthcare has become a big believer in automated vendor credentialing programs, not only as a patient safety and compliance solution, but as a way to make sure that vendors are meeting their business agreements.

Before 2006, nurses and frontline staff at Intermountain Healthcare's flagship LDS Hospital recognized it had a problem with vendor representatives going in and out of the hospital to service accounts and physicians.  

There was no way to know whether these folks had the required immunizations and background checks to allow them into sensitive patient care areas. So Intermountain cooked up a solution. It started requiring vendor reps to check in every time they visited, and to present their immunization records on arrival. The storage mechanism for such paperwork: Rubbermaid plastic tubs.

"That was not ideal, and it was a very manual process," concedes Joe Walsh, assistant vice president of procurement at Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City-based LDS Hospital's parent. To complicate matters, other Intermountain hospitals each had a different way to deal with vendor credentialing.  

Lately, though, Intermountain has become a big believer in automated vendor credentialing programs not only as a patient safety issue, but as a way to make sure that vendors are meeting their agreements with the hospital and health system on what areas they're allowed to visit, and critically, what they're allowed to peddle on premises.  

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